Liz

My name is Liz. I have right hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy most likely caused at birth. Recent MRI results show that I had a stroke a very long time ago. I was told by one doctor I would never walk that I should be put in a wheelchair. My mother took me to physical therapy every day and at two and a half, I learned how to walk. I think that was my biggest achievement.

I was mainstreamed throughout my childhood with my “regular” peers, and it was a struggle at times. I learned to assimilate with them and I played soccer with them — I had a great left foot!!

I played basketball with one arm in high school on the JV team. I was also on the swim team, although I came in last in every race. Playing my sports kept me going when I was younger and it was a big achievement for me.

Another major achievement was finally graduating from college with a BA in Education. This came with many challenges. Before graduating, I was diagnosed with depression. That was a big challenge for me.

I guess the one hard thing about having right hemiplegia CP is that people don’t seem to know much about it. Maybe a little more now than in the ’70s. But they should know that we are intelligent. And we like to be treated like everyone else. That the disability is often caused by lack of oxygen at birth. You cannot catch it!

I have had many achievements. I enjoy my sports to this day — even playing golf with one arm!  Having CP is a challenge, and you just have to find the shortcuts to the challenges. Like being a left-footed soccer player and finding out that becoming a receptionist is the best alternative for you. Even though you wanted to do other things.

Want to keep reading? Meet Sharon.